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Panasonic Viera TX-L19X10 19in LCD TV
Despite its die-hard love of plasma technology, Panasonic produced some of the very first 'portable' LCD TVs ever released. And very nice they were too, combining ridiculously cute designs with startlingly bright, colourful pictures to give us an early glimpse of the shining future that LCD technology was ultimately to enjoy.
Since those early LCD days, though, we haven't really come across many Panasonic portables, partly due to our focus tending to be on large screens, and partly because Panasonic actually stopped making any screens smaller than 26in across for a while.
But with the second-room TV market enjoying a marked boost in popularity right now, Panasonic has sensibly rejoined the portable LCD fray in the shape of the TX-L19X10 - a 19in model available in black (L19X10B) and white (L19X10BW) versions.
Given that I still hold an embarrassing candle for Apple's original iPod design, I was drawn to the white version of the L19X10 like a moth to a flame. And as I survey my choice, I have to say I'm surprisingly happy with it. For compared with the ever-so-slightly dull looks of Panny's larger screens, the L19X10BW is quite cute in its white livery, especially as the pale finish is wrapped round an appealingly sculpted body.
Another unexpected bonus about the L19X10BW is its price. For at £279 it's really very affordable for a 'big-brand' 19in TV, sidestepping Panasonic's occasional problems with making its LCD TVs as affordable as its plasma ones.
Although the L19X10BW's connections aren't spectacular, meanwhile, they cover all the main bases. There's a single HDMI, for instance, as well as two SCARTs, a PC port, a component video input, and an SD card slot you can use for viewing photos taken on an SD camera of the sort favoured - of course! - by Panasonic, among others.
The HDMI and component video inputs noted above are consistent with the HD Ready specification, and this is rounded off by a native HD resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels that conforms to a true 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.
Also looking good on the specification side of things is a claimed contrast ratio of 4,000:1. This suggests that the L19X10BW sports a dynamic contrast system, where the screen's backlight level can automatically be adjusted to suit the brightness levels of the image being shown. Important though this feature is, it's by no means a dead cert on a cheap, small TV.
The L19X10BW scores a coup over many of its small-screen rivals, too, by carrying onscreen menus that are both easy to navigate and actually possible to read from quite some distance away. Wow - wonders will never cease.
The list of features contained within these menus isn't particularly extensive, at least when considered alongside the stuff carried by LG's more expensive 22in 22LU5000. But its automatic colour management option and cinema/game picture presets help it sneak just above the feature offerings of many similarly priced rivals.